August 10, 2007
Guy Kawasaki LIVE on Evangelism
Guy Kawasaki is on the Gnomedex stage talking to us about evangelism -- the audience voted for this topic. For a geek audience, its not surprising since technologists are notoriously bad at communicating their revolution.
On evangelism, Guy says we should start with MEANING -- in other words, make meaning. "The root of great companies is making meaning rather than making money." That goes without saying or does it? While it seems like an automatic, so many companies forget the meaning and only focus on the money. Secondly, have a mantra for why you exist and 'ditch the mission statement.'
I agree except for the fact that if the mission statement is really good, it is your mantra. He jokingly yet cyncially tells the story of how many companies (larger entities in my experience) go the 'off-site with a hired consultant gun' route. In my traditional agency and corporate days, they did that all the time AND spent huge amounts of money doing it.
He says, "they are mostly held at a hotel next to a golf course, i.e., the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay for example. Guy adds, "they hire a consultant, often a woman and her name is Moonbeam. Creating a mission statement is like creating a family. They hire from the outside world because no one inside their organization can lead." It gets an audience laugh - because its funny or so many can resonate with the statement?
Thirdly, great products are complete. I can't agree with him more. Guy reminds us that its "not the product itself, its everything around the product, i.e., OEMs, VARs, tech support, the online forums, the whole string of fixes, the open source stuff, customer service." Guy says, "great products are also elegant, i.e., you can manage thousands of songs with a wheel, you can figure out what to do without a manual. I tell clients that all the time and often, yet I also encourage them to have a basic outline for people to use to get them up and running painlessly.
Fabulous products are also emotive. Think about it - you either love a harley davison and a Mac or you hate them. Lastly, NICHE. Tap into one. "This is all the marketing you need to know," he says. How unique is it? How valuable is what you created to the customer? How many clones are out there?
Companies often freak out when customers start to use products but don't continue to use them or the wrong people are starting to buy their products." Why not celebrate? His advice: ask people who are buying the product, why are you using it and give them more value RATHER than asking people who are not buying it, "why are you not using it?" NEVER try to convert an atheist. Look for agnostics, not atheists. Someone who never used a computer was an easy Mac convert, not someone who was already committed to using DOS in the old days.
There's also the personal aspect. Make your evangelism personal. Most people in technology try to describe their product or service in very lofty terms, rather than keeping it personal and simple. How does this thing effect YOU? Guy says, "it's not about megatrends or paradigm shifts, but how does it help the customer." And on how to deal with your influencers, he says, "find the REAL influencers."
Start-ups only want to get to the CXO person at the company, i.e., the person with power. It has been his experience that the higher you go in organizations, the thinner the air and the thinner the air, the harder it is to support life.
Often at the top, its not where the real intelligence is. If you only focus on the top level people, you will fail. Many of these people got to where they are because they sucked up. Forget the impressive titles. It's GREAT advice. While its not always the case, its sadly all too often true.
Lastly, on reviews and testing products, allow people to really test drive your revolution. "This is is a much better way to go than a pitch." He encourages people to provide a slippery slope and make it easy for people to fall into your product or service.
Lastly, he reminds the audience not to let the bozos grind you down. It's not as if someone says you'll fail, and you don't go there. Says Guy, "the dangerous bozo is successful, rich and well known. You think that because of those three thiings, it means they're smart." For me, no, it means that more often than not, they're arrogant.
Someone from the audience asks Guy what his blog has meant to him? Guy says, "I started a year and a half ago. I didn't blog for a long time because I thought blogging was inherently arrogant. Maybe I make $30 or 40,000 in advertising a year; that certainly doesn't pay for the amount of time I think about it. It helps with product introductions for myself and others and at that tactical level, it makes sense. My personal mantra is to empower entrepreneurs."
Interesting add-on from Guy about how he thinks about the world during the Q&A. "I believe in God," he says. "
He adds, "At the end of my life, when I face God, I want to be able to say "I empowered entrepreneurs by blogging and helped them make the world a better place. I want to be in First Class Singapore Airlines for eternity. Theological, its not supposed to be if you do good stuff, you get into heaven. You need to have a back-up plan for eternity.
Guy's Blog here.
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